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All comments by Mike Bell
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Yes, I was about to ask where you were before that…
May 16, 2017
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Talking of the youngest to win something…

In this event, like some other Swiss Teams events in the UK, the team that wins each round by the largest margin receives a bottle of wine each. In one round, the largest win was by a junior team - 36 IMPs to 1 in their seven-board match. The oldest is 15, the youngest is 12!
May 16, 2017
Mike Bell edited this comment May 16, 2017
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Definitely some younger teams have won it in the past. Forrester, Granville, Kirby, Armstong in 1978 for one.
May 16, 2017
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The BAM has only existed since 2014, the Swiss since the 1970s.
May 16, 2017
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Ship it!

Awesome event as always. It was still my favourite event on the calendar even when I kept on getting knocked out in round 2 or round 3 and, shockingly, winning it hasn't changed that!
May 3, 2017
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I may have much to learn about banter, but not from you!!
May 1, 2017
Mike Bell edited this comment May 1, 2017
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I'm offended, I consider my banter to be the best part of my game.
May 1, 2017
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I find these easier when the answer is someone I've heard of!
April 26, 2017
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The first time I played the England trials, my team scored -250 IMPs over 100 boards during the first weekend. I received a nice email saying that, although the conditions of contest specified horrible punishments for any team that withdrew before the second weekend, they would make an exception for us.
April 4, 2017
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In the UK, you say ‘take a punt’ to mean ‘gamble’. Presumably from the aforementioned betting terminology. My experience of the usage in bridge is similar but requires jumping a couple of levels. “I wasn't sure what any bids would mean so I just punted slam”. Quite the opposite of the US meaning!
April 2, 2017
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My fiancée is a school teacher, and she will surely play a Euros/Venice Cup sooner or later. Luckily her school is very accommodating and will likely let her have time off work for these events (they let her take a week off to play the SportAccord in her first term in the job!). We would like to play together in Montecatini but the timing makes it impossible.

Obviously, that is a downside to having a job with fixed holidays, but I'm sure there are others who will benefit from the timing of this World Championship. Most significantly, you will get more juniors playing in the Transnational than if it was scheduled during October.
March 28, 2017
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Sorin, I believe that the ATP tour used to give a bonus for beating seeded players, but no longer does so.
March 13, 2017
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I think that's a logical fallacy. The variance in the final amongst the qualifying pairs is larger because -

A) it's shorter
B) some of the pairs who qualified will have done so because they were lucky during the qualification (e.g. their expectancy was actually 45% but they exceeded it).

A better argument would be that boards in the qualifier should have greater weighting because there are more comparisons/matchpoints available on each board. I disagree, because -

A) The field will be more consistent in the final
B) It makes for a better event if the final day is more important
Feb. 15, 2017
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The first question to answer is, “how many boards do you want to play on the Sunday?”. If 34 is fine, keep it the same. If, for example, you'd like there to be another 30 minutes of bridge on the Sunday, we can debate whether it's better to have 14 pairs (39 boards) or 20 pairs (38 boards).

As for carry-forward, I think it's best to think of it as “each board in the final is worth (x) times as much as each board in the qualifier”. Currently, x is 39/34 or about 1.15. That seems a bit low to me, I'd want 1.5 as a minimum.
Feb. 15, 2017
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The sad day for bridge was a few days ago, not today.
Feb. 14, 2017
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I'd be worried that partner will expect five clubs for a redouble (most likely 5305).
Feb. 14, 2017
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Slight retraction - Phil does have advantages on his weak NTs, I think he has a “good raise to 2M” that is consistent with a balanced 14-count.
Feb. 13, 2017
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The frequency of the opening is irrelevant, it's the frequency of the gains that matter.

If you believed that playing 1C:1D!, 1H! as a weak NT with 3 hearts and 1C:1D!, 1NT as a weak NT with 2 hearts is the biggest possible advantage to xfer responses to 1C, I would (probably) agree that you should open 1C on weak NTs. If you are using the transfer complete for various unbalanced hands, and still rebidding 1NT when balanced without four-card support (as Phil and I do in our respective methods, and as I did when I briefly played the same opening bids as you) then the transfers are irrelevant constructively when you are dealt a balanced hand. In fact, they actually become a negative, for two of the reasons I listed in my post above.
Feb. 13, 2017
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Ok, so…

30% prefer to open 1C on weak NTs with 4 diamonds when playing simple methods.

When playing more complex methods, 51% distinguish minor suit lengths, 38% don't. Ignoring the “not applicables”, that's a 57/43 split.

I was very interested how large the difference between these two scenarios would be. How many fundamentally prefer showing minor suit lengths on balanced hands, but think that the advantages that come from not using up two sequences to show “the same hand-type” are greater? About 12%. I had anticipated slightly more.

In hindsight, I wish I had used a more precise term than “more complex methods” in Q2. Perhaps “A system incorporating an artificial 1D response to 1C” would have been better. I'm sure that would have increased the number answering (d), and thus increased that figure from 12%.

Only three people treated weak NTs and 18-19 NTs differently in either scenario, and that included me - and my vote probably more reflected that I'm on the fence between (1) and (2) than a strong belief in (3)! I'm surprised, I think there's a lot to be said for showing suits on weak NTs (partner may wish to compete or be on lead) but suppressing it on 18-19 NTs (high probability we're just on the way to 3NT).

Anyway, this all makes me pretty keen to try out my “scientific” natural system idea, although I won't let it replace my current main system (2+card minors) - doing so would result in two rather upset bridge partners, one of whom would probably call off our wedding!
Feb. 12, 2017
Mike Bell edited this comment Feb. 12, 2017
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I played in that club in 2011, I was playing a poker tournament and my now-fiancée felt that a game of bridge was required during the week. I don't remember much about it other than, having claimed the last ten tricks in a 3NT contract, I was informed by an opponent that she was “there to play bridge, not abacus”.
Feb. 10, 2017
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